The U.S. has brought together a number of countries - with the noteworthy exception of Russia - to unite and increase efforts to combat a global, on-the-rise, and potentially disastrous cybercrime.

Following a U.S.-led anti-ransomware summit on Thursday, more than two dozen countries agreed to work together to combat the worldwide and rising threat posed by cyber-extortionists.

"The threat of ransomware is complex and global in nature and requires a shared response," a joint summit statement following the two-day meeting said.

The group of nations, according to the statement, "recognise the need for urgent action, common priorities and complementary efforts".

The European Union, the U.K., Australia, Singapore, Germany, France, Japan, India, Mexico, Israel, Kenya, and others were among the approximately 30 countries that participated in the virtual assembly, which took place from Wednesday to Thursday.

During the summit, countries detailed their agonizing experiences with cyber-extortion, including Germany's declaration of a digital "disaster" and Israel's announcement of a cyber-blitz against a major hospital.

Ransomware attacks encrypt data by hacking into a company's networks and demanding a ransom, which is usually paid in cryptocurrency in exchange for the key to decrypt it.

Stronger digital security and offline backups, as well as a coordinated effort to target the laundering of the proceeds of the assaults, were cited as critical measures in the fight.

The nations also agreed to collaborate on law enforcement operations, which are difficult since they transcend borders and involve specialized capabilities, as well as the use of diplomatic pressure.

Despite Moscow's denial, the most recent ransomware assaults on the United States have been blamed on Russian-speaking cyber organizations or those operating from Russian territory.

Russia was not invited to this "first round" of talks "for a host of reasons," White House officials said, but Washington has established a separate line of contact with Moscow on the sensitive subject.

Senior administration sources claimed the U.S. "engages directly" with Russia "on the subject of ransomware" through the U.S.-Kremlin Experts Group, which is overseen by the White House.

Washington has stepped up its efforts to combat an uptick in attacks, including the imposition of its first penalties against an online exchange where criminals are reportedly exchanging cryptocurrencies for cash.

The attacks on a major U.S. oil pipeline, a meatpacking company, and the Microsoft Exchange email system highlighted the vulnerability of U.S. infrastructure to cybercriminals.